Coexistence of a locally undifferentiated foraging guild: Avian snatchers in a southeastern Australian forest

R. Mac Nally

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    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Three species of sexually dichromatic, insectivorous birds (Golden Whistler, Pachycephala pectoralis; Rufous Whistler, Pa. rufiventris; Rose Robin, Petroica rosea) employ a characteristic foraging manoeuvre (snatching or sally-striking) disproportionately often, leading several studies to group them together in one foraging guild. The three species synchronously co-occupy an extensive eucalypt forest east of Melbourne, Australia (Olinda State Forest). All assemble in relatively high densities in late winter and through spring and early summer to breed. Log-linear modelling of use of foraging techniques, substrate, plant species and heights within the forest indicate that all six species–gender groups virtually do not differ from one another: a situation in which very similar species coexist at high densities. The results are considered in the context of interspecific competition among ecologically similar species and it is suggested how such a situation might arise and be sustained. The absence of gender-specific differentiation within species is also addressed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-82
    Number of pages14
    JournalAustral Ecology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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